New Delhi: A court Thursday gave bail to 14 AAP activists arrested on charges of rioting outside the BJP office here even as the AAP accused police of bias.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh was meanwhile taken to a police station after police announced earlier they were looking for him and party colleague Shazia Ilmi for taking part in the Wednesday protest.
Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain gave bail to the 14 AAP members, observing that the investigating officer has failed to disclose pendency of any other criminal case against the accused.
“Keeping in view the facts of the case, nature of offences and undertaking given on behalf of accused people, the present applications for bail of the present 14 applicants is allowed,” the court said.
The 14 were asked to furnish a personal bond of Rs.15,000 with one surety of like amount each and directed to join the investigations when needed and not try to tamper with the evidence.
Appearing for the accused, AAP leaders and advocates Prashant Bhushan and Somnath Bharti requested the court to grant bail to all the accused as they have clean antecedents.
Bhushan told court that that the protest was peaceful until some BJP workers started throwing stones and chairs upon AAP members, injuring many and some grievously.
Police opposed the bail plea.
A police officer told IANS that the 14, including a professor, were taken into custody for the clashes that took place between AAP and BJP activists Wednesday evening.
The clashes followed a noisy demonstration the Aam Aadmi Party staged outside the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters after police detained AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal in Gujarat Wednesday.
The Wednesday demonstration, in which both Ashutosh and Ilmi took part, turned ugly with a section of BJP activists hurling stones and chairs from inside the office. AAP supporters retaliated from the outside.
Police used water canons to disperse the demonstrators. One or two AAP members climbed onto a police van to stop the water spray. Several members were injured.
A first information report (FIR) registered against the AAP named Ashutosh and Ilmi, both former journalists, along with professor Anand Kumar and some AAP legislators.
Police said 33 people were detained after the violence. They were booked for unlawful assembly, rioting, assault on public servants and unlawful activities. Some were let off Thursday morning.
Before police took him for questioning, Ashutosh tweeted that Delhi Police was biased as they had not arrested anyone from the BJP and were targeting only the AAP.
He said later that he was “a law abiding citizen” and would cooperate with the police. He also warned party workers not to indulge in violence.
Bhushan echoed the charge. “Both the police and the BJP seem determined to crush the AAP,” he said.
“This clearly shows the BJP and Congress are hand in glove,” he said, an obvious reference to Delhi Police which reports to the central government.
Kejriwal, who began a four-day tour of Gujarat Wednesday to “expose” Chief Minister Narendra Modi, again urged his party members to stay calm.
“We have to be prepared for such things. I request our workers … like I did yesterday to not to resort to violence,” he told the media.
Kejriwal reiterated that he had already apologized for the conduct of some of his workers Wednesday and was doing so again.
“We are on the path of truth which is a very difficult one. We have to be prepared to sacrifice. Under no circumstances should we indulge in violence,” he added.